To organize my brushes, I had a little flower pot that came with an orchid that I killed shortly after receiving it as a gift from a former student. I filled it up with rice and stuck them in, brush side up. Now they are super easy to see and get to. My make up has never been as organized, and it takes up almost no counter space.
P.S. If you make your way to Bath & Body Works or my bathroom, try the Candy Cane Bliss hand soap. I'm obsessed.